On a bit of a side note, I am writing todays blog on the front stoop of the Baltimore City home I've been house sitting this past week. I have been in and around this city since I was 16. I don't have the colorful backstory that the average city dweller probably has. But I have found a continuous amount of memories both good and bad in this city. The city that reads, the city that bleeds, charm city, Bmore baby. I love my city and hate it too. But it has a rich and darkly powerfull history. Not unlike most major cities.
It seems almost fitting to feel the energy of Baltimore while I type this. Cause the next chapter in my childhood involved a good deal of prejudice, hate, and racism, which is something that this city has had a lot of problems with. In the 4th grade I started seeing the world with greatly opened eyes.
I had already experienced a number of things by the time I hit 4th grade that probably a lot of kids didn't. I could be wrong about that though. We tend to find the world was much darker than we ever noticed the older that we get. I started walking with shadows at a young age. I had so many strange experiences before I was 10.
Kids talk. Kids talk about everything and anything. Even that which they don't understand. So I learned from the pain of others starting in Kindergarten. I knew about the abuse that went on in many homes of various kinds and degrees. I had seen pornography due to the ill attempts of foolish parents to hide their stash. I knew about drinking and smoking due to the lifestyle of many of the poor families around me that came and went in our little 4X4 mile industry town. I would eventually learn about the occult in a number of ways but not just yet. The golden lesson for 4th grade was about racism above all else.
Just like in my 3rd grade installment I cant simply make this blog about music. It doesn't do my life justice or your ability to understand me. I feel I have to try and paint a true picture of the lessons I learned. And I will continue to do so in these attempts at memory gauging.
Each year I had a birthday a couple months after starting school.
k 5-6 1st, 6-7 2nd 7-8 3rd 8-9 4th 9-10 etc etc
So at the tender age of 9 and 10 I started to see another side of the faces of evil. The side that does not accept or change. A side that sits in the dingiest crawl spaces of human depravity. Racism. I tend to think that there are some very good reasons I had no problems with racism in life. Meaning I was never taught or compounded upon the idea that we are separate. I was from a strong catholic family that never showed me anything but acceptance towards others. I was taught and shown through my parents actions that people of all walks, colors, lifestyles, look, and backgrounds deserve love and understanding above all else. Regardless of whether or not my parents agreed with the lifestyles of those around them they still went out of their way to do what was right when called upon.
I never thought of kids as different. For one thing there was not a very big non white population in my little home town. So I simply did not get to see all that many cultures. We had a handfull of asian, spanish and latino kids. I can't honestly say I had any black kids in my grade school classes. But I never saw kids as different cause since I started school my best friends were a Mexican kid and a Vietnamese kid and a whiter than me kid. I had other friends along the way and they would know who they are if they ever read this but these 3 unnamed children were with me from 1st grade till I moved away in the beginning of 99. I think being with them for so long is one of the many reasons I grew up accepting all colors, creeds, and cultures. I simply just saw everybody as the same.
In 4th grade it became blatantly obvious that the world did not all share my point of view. Ya gotta remember that while I had seen and done a lot of bad things, I was still a kid. And we grew up on the cusp of technology. So we didn't have cable and internet and smart phones and all the things that bring us endless info these days. We had life in the real, what you saw and what you heard. We learned things from newspapers and tv reports. Our communities were sheltered in good and bad ways within ourselves. We could not share the hate or the love as easily as you can today.
There are many things I have omitted from these tales as to save them for later or simply to help focus on the point at hand. Like the fact that I started a long career of thievery in elementary school. And I also did do music that year in a couple differnet ways. But let me get the darkness out first. As I have said previously I am not sure of all the exact dates, times, and orders of which my memories flow. I just do the best I can to present the story.
In fourth grade I started to hear talks of a group called the KKK. Well I didn't fully understand of course. My primary knowledge about racist pieces of shit came from Shaka Zulu and Roots. I had seen most of Shaka Zulu on tv specials and only pieces of roots, but I learned enough to be utterly blown away at the cowardice and senselessness of racism. But out of nowhere I start to hear stories about kids finding the hoods or the dresses they wear. Then came an announcement that the KKK would be marching through town. I started to see flyers going around talking about eventual race wars. And what side I would be on. Fuck that. I will stand on the side of righteousness not color. I would see these flyers for many years to come and honestly it wasn't until the past couple years of Trumps 4th Reich that I started to wonder if the day may actually come.
The KKK did march through our little town because "they had rights too". I think they marched twice while I was a kid and then never again. My dad tried to get us out of town each time and take us to maryland to be with family so that we didn't see anything we shouldn't. They tried hard to shelter us from the world. That is the job most parents shoot for. Somewhere between blinding us to the evils around us while also preparing us to find and face it.
They couldn't keep us from everything. And I don't know to this day if they have any idea how much we found on our own. As I said the clan only marched a couple times and I feel like they might all have been that year. Why did they only march early in my life and never again? Because on the other side of the country there were race riots going on in LA. The news talked about little else. Every day you were bombarded with smashed buildings, looters, fires, militant cops beating on citizens, and cities going crazy. Racism and prejudice is a choice that lurks in the hearts of the simple minded. There is no excuse, Racism is taught and learned. No one is born with hate in there heart. Its put there by stronger wills and kept there be weak souls.
While in La the city was burning and we were seeing the beating of Rodney king over and over again. We had little cowards in white dresses roaming through our streets. The only time the good guys wear masks is when they are beating up the bad guys. And in the real world heroes don't exist as caped crusaders. Generally speaking the only ones who hide their face today are usually criminals. But that is a problem at the heart of racism. What is right and wrong, good and evil. Its perspective. Half the dumb motherfuckers who are racist in this world also call themselves Christians. Or men of god. Everyone tends to think that their way of living is the "right" way.
But during the riots in LA there were suddenly black folk all over Hanover. Maybe I just hadn't noticed as much cause all the race stuff was currently so in my face. But suddenly I started to see all kinds of crazy. Hanover was a very small town. Had I stayed I would have graduated with some 70 or so kids total. I graduated with like 300 something here in maryland. But we were small we didn't have a bus system for the kids. Most kids like me got rides from their parents. There was more than one time that my elder brother and sister couldn't even get to HS because suddenly there were all these black and white students beating the shit out of each other right there at the school. It was canceled a couple times just cause of the unruly acts of violence.
Then there was the unrest I saw around town. I used to bike and walk everywhere. 2.5 miles to school, 3 miles to the mall, 3.5 miles to the theatre, eventually 3 or 4 miles to work by the time I was 14/15. I would see people fighting here and there. But there was one time that I can never erase from my mind. I was a kid remember so I didn't know that many places or people. But I did fly all over town. The one place I occasionally saw brothers, was playing basketball at the elementary school hoops. On occasion you could see some dudes throwin bricks and I'd watch sometimes. I liked Basketball a lot more as a kid (all sports really). But one day as I'm going by the school kind of slow on my bike I see this white guy pull up on the dudes playin ball. They didn't seem to notice him but he looked mad so I was watching him. He goes into his trunk pulls out a small stretch of chain and heads towards the courts. I had no idea what might be goin on but this motherfucker proceeds to attack the guys playin ball. They all start scrapin and goin crazy. I freaked and bounced the fuck outta there. It shook the shit outta me. And things like this were going on everywhere.
There were many reasons I found to be an open minded and openhearted person. I accept all walks of life. I have more than one friend who do drag or identify as a sex they weren't born as, I have gay friends, friends of all colors and walks of life. I accept anyone who is a decent person. That's about all you need to gain my respect. Be good to others and good to yourself. This is a lesson we learn over time. I don't care what color or creed you are, if you suck as a human you can go fuck off a bridge. I have no time for petty individuals. My time as a child let me see all the nasty sides of man. There are few things I hate more, NO, there are no things I hate more than Racist people and Abusers of women and children. I had to see the affects of these kinds of people throughout my life. Now in these adult years I still see it spreading like a plague. Anyone who thinks the world is equal and fair is living in a daydream. The world is corrupt. The world is full of those who will bleed the weak to gain just another inch. Those who will destroy the world around them just to prove how powerful they are.
But there are things you must remember. The light is just as prevalent as the dark. The difference is the darkness speaks in volumes. It is loud and scary. But the light moves in silence. It flows as a river through the still hearts of the world. The news is filled with the evils of our time. Cause that is what makes money. We have to be the change we wish to see in the world. Giving up is giving in. We have to live through example. We have to do as we wish to be done. I am not even close to being a christian. Or any other religion for that matter. But I do enjoy the concepts of some of these dogmas. We ARE all created equal. But only in the womb.
Where youre born, what shade you are, who your kin is/was, what neighborhood you came up in, all these things do matter. They do create an imbalance. So many different cultures form our world but we all carry the same bones. Yes we are all on different paths in different ways that can only be defined by us, but being a good human is something that all of us can accomplish.
okay.............. Now I feel I have said my piece even though I really didn't say that much. 4th grade was an eye opener. I learned more about the world than I at all wanted to. I saw the darkness rear its ugly head again. But in a new form. But music was with me the whole time. Hip hop and rock were everywhere. The feel of the 80s was mostly dead and the sad drabness of the 90s was getting riled up.
I will go ahead with the lighter side of things now. I did not only the talent show that year but also my first and last play. I was inspired that year by the Secret of the Ooze. We all loved the turtles and I loved the end of the movie when they break into the club and find vanilla ice doin his thing on stage. Does Vanilla freak out when he sees the turtles? No, of course not, he starts a turtle ninja inspired rap. Ninja rap was the song I did in the forth grade. It was pretty awesome.
I had a buddy from down the street who wanted to join me that year. We practiced a series of made up moves, ninja kicks and a version of what they did in the movie. Practiced hard and had it all down pat. He even did the tryouts with me but then chickened out before the actual performance. It was kind of disappointing but also exciting cause I would again get to shine all on my own.
Right before I had gotten to 4th grade they completed construction on the new Hanover middle school. It was previously at the old Eisenhower building. As of that point 5 grade was moved away from elementary and became part of the middle school. There by making my 4th year my last year in elementary.
Being that this was my final chance at the talent show I had to make it a little bigger. In the years past I didn't care much about what I wore or having stage props but this year is seemed necessary to take it a little further. I went ahead and constructed a life size sewer wall and tunnel opening out of cardboard. Probably looked like shit really but I thought it was fuckin great. I was very proud of my creation. That accompanied with my all white Miami Vice suit. I felt like a million bucks.
It was the same old story from there of course. I came bursting out the sewer lookin fresh to death and throwin bows and ninja kicks. I had the audience in the palm of my hand. They went ape shit and I felt like gold again. But I certainly didn't win 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. As always that was for the kids with connections. Just like in the real world. Its all about who you know and where you go. But fuck it. I rocked and I had the audience goin crazy again. That was all I needed.
At some point that year I also did my first and last school play. It just kind of happened. I don't know if I got the part cause I could sing ok (doubtful), or cause I simply had the confidence to do it (maybe), or cause no other boys wanted in (dont really recall the other boys). But I when I heard they were doing a play and not just a play but a musical, I decided I would try out. The story would be about Super Clause, the flying Santa. I got the part of Santa. And quite frankly I'm probably got the part cause I was the chubbiest boy with the desire to put myself on a stage and sing. Either way I got the part and I practiced till I had all the script memorized. The tape is probably out there somewhere of both that years performances. Who knows. But I did great as Santa too. I got up there and rocked it.
So 4th grade again saw many firsts. It was my first play, my first musical, my first script, my first bitter taste of racism. It was yet another wild year. I'm sure there are many things I haven't said. But that's ok. I will keep writiing my stories and sharing my lessons learned. There are still many pages to turn. I think I'm a bit spent though. Even though this is not that long I've been reflecting and writing while sitting on this stoop for about 2 and a half hours. Till next time. Thanks and there's always more to share. I'll tell you about it sometime.